Therefore they called out to the Lord, “O Lord, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you.” So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows. And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. —Jonah 1:14-17
In Jonah 1:17 we find a third specific action attributed to God in this book. His word came to Jonah in 1:1; He “hurled a great wind” in 1:4 and now in verse 17, “And the Lord appointed a great fish.”
Now I did a little study on that word “appointed” in the Bible. You can’t believe how common it is. Here’s the definition of that word appointed: God has a plan and a purpose for every person. Did you know that? Did you know that the times and the seasons of your life are appointed?We operate as free moral agents in this world and we certainly make choices, but God, knowing in eternity past the choices that we would make, appoints specific responses that will happen. And God has a very particular plan for our life. I kind of like to think of it as a master chess game, that God is so phenomenal at this thing called life that no matter what piece you touch and what move you make, God has appointed the next move so that He can accomplish the things that He wants to accomplish in your life. This word appointedis a phenomenal word.
Here are several key “appointed” Scriptures. Job 23:14 says that“For he will complete what he appoints for me . . .” Job 7:3 says that for each of our lives “nights of misery are apportioned to me.” You may think, “I’ve already had my share!”It’s the truth—every night will not be a perfect night of rest. Some nights God will have you awake and wrestling and thinking through things. Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed forman to dieonce.”The appointed day of your entrance into eternity has been set before time began. God knows the day that you’ll step out of this world. And the question is, will you be ready? Because the verse continues, “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.”Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “For everything there is a[appointed] season, and a [appointed] time for every matter under heaven.”God had no trouble appointing a fish to meet Jonah and change his life. And He’ll put you in circumstances that will radically change your perspective, too! —James MacDonald
At what points in life have I had the distinct impression that a circumstance or event was prepared for me?
What valuable lessons did I learn in my “appointed” fish or situation?
Prayer - I realize, Father, that sometimes it takes getting thrown overboard
, or under the bus before I realize I’ve been ignoring You! Thank You for appointing hard things in my life if that’s what it will take to teach me a lesson. Help me to pay attention sooner! Thank You for the confidence of knowing that my times are in Your hands. In Jesus’ name, Amen.